On the secrecy of spread-spectrum flow watermarks

Xiapu Luo, Junjie Zhang, Roberto Perdisci, Wenke Lee

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Spread-spectrum flow watermarks offer an invisible and ready-to-use flow watermarking scheme that can be employed to stealthily correlate the two ends of a network communication. Such technique has wide applications in network security and privacy. Although several methods have been proposed to detect various flow watermarks, few can effectively detect spread-spectrum flow watermarks. Moreover, there is currently no solution that allows end users to eliminate spread-spectrum flow watermarks from their flows without the support of a separate network element. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to detect spread-spectrum flow watermarks by leveraging their intrinsic features. Contrary to the common belief that Pseudo-Noise (PN) codes can render flow watermarks invisible, we prove that PN codes actually facilitate their detection. Furthermore, we propose a novel method based on TCP's flow-control mechanism that provides end users with the ability to autonomously remove spread-spectrum flow watermarks. We conducted extensive experiments on traffic flowing both through one-hop proxies in the PlanetLab network, and through Tor. The experimental results show that the proposed detection system can achieve up to 100% detection rate with zero false positives, and confirm that our elimination system can effectively remove spread-spectrum flow watermarks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Security, ESORICS 2010 - 15th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, Proceedings
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event15th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2010 - Athens, Greece
Duration: 20 Sept 201022 Sept 2010

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume6345 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference15th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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